An outstanding example of globally
The Northern Wetbelt of east-central British Columbia contains outstanding examples of globally rare ecosystems -- inland temperate rainforests and subalpine forests located more than 500 km from the ocean. Centred on the Upper Fraser River valley and Rocky Mountain Trench, these mountain forests have tremendous ecological diversity, including lush riparian zones adjacent to salmon streams, impressive groves of western redcedar, and high elevation Engelmann spruce-subalpine fir forests and meadows. This montane region provides important habitat for many threatened or endangered species, ranging from mountain caribou to canopy lichens and old-growth or antique forests.
Ecological research in this region is giving new insights into natural disturbance processes, and the structure and functioning of both unmanaged and managed forests. Long-term forest research is examining the effects of different silvicultural systems, including comparisons between partial cut and clearcut harvesting practices. Current stand level studies are emphasizing the dynamics of coarse woody debris and wildlife trees, the ecology of forest canopies, and the historical roles of pathogens and fire. At a landscape level, we are currently examining factors which promote canopy biodiversity in the upper Fraser River watershed.
The wetbelt website provides archival information on research in B.C.'s Inland Temperate Rainforest (ITR) and adjacent wetbelt ecosystems, including a comprehensive listing of publications (up to 2013).